Even with an off day waiting Monday, Aaron Judge was out the Yankees’ lineup Sunday.
In part because of a looming trip to the turf field in Tampa, manager Aaron Boone said he was being “proactive” by sitting Judge for the series finale against the Nationals at Yankee Stadium. Judge entered the current homestand having sat back-to-back days with lower-body soreness, but started every one of the eight games since before getting Sunday off.
“He’s been doing better and better all week physically,” Boone said Sunday morning. “I still think he’s dealing with some lower leg stuff, as you’re grinding through and playing every day. But it’s more of trying to stay out in front, proactive, taking advantage of an off day with the turf coming up. It’s more that.”
The Yankees begin a series with the Rays on Tuesday at Tropicana Field, the first of 13 games in 13 days. The artificial turf field there can be unforgiving — and has been for Judge’s legs in the past.
After returning from the lower-body soreness he experienced at the end of the Yankees’ last road trip, Judge hit two home runs in the homestand opener against the Tigers and then had three hits the next day.
In his next six games through Saturday, though, he was hitting just 2-for-24 with 14 strikeouts. He broke an 0-for-16 skid Saturday with a bloop single in the ninth inning to help set up Gleyber Torres’ game-tying hit on the way to a 4-3 win in 11 innings.
After the win, Judge admitted he had “been terrible at the plate,” but he won’t get the chance to turn it around Sunday.
“He’s OK,” Boone said. “Just trying to be proactive and keep him going with an off day [Monday] and then starting a long stretch. Long day [Saturday] obviously. Hopefully this is something that keeps him strong physically.”